Marching for Stella D’oro strikers

January 15, 2009

NEW YORK--About 50 people marched January 10 in a snowstorm to demand justice for the striking workers at Bronx-based Stella D'oro Biscuit Co. Strikers and community members rallied to draw attention to the strike and publicize a boycott of Stella D'oro products.

Demonstrators chanted, "No contract, no cookies!" and "What's disgusting? Union busting!" as many onlookers from the neighborhood cheered and pledged their support.

Marchers picketed the local Stop and Shop where community members presented management with a letter asking them to take the biscuit company's products off the shelves.

The striking workers, who are members of the Bakery, Confectionary, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union (BCTWGM) Local 50, have been out on strike since August. The cookie company, which is now under new ownership, wants to slash wages by up to 25 percent, impose premiums on health insurance, freeze pensions, and eliminate holidays, vacations and sick pay.

One striker, Sara Rodriguez, described what is at stake for many of the strikers: "In my case, I have to support many people on just one income. The company bought up the business to try to get rid of the union. There's just no way that we can take what they wanted to give us."

What you can do

Another demonstration is planned for January 31. Meet at 11 a.m. at the picket line at 237th and Broadway in the Bronx for a march down Broadway to the Target Shopping Center at 225th and Major Deegan, where there will be a rally starting at 1 p.m.

Check out the Stella D'Oro Strike 2008 Web site for updates and more information on the struggle. To find you how you can help, e-mail the Committee in Support of the Stella D'Oro Strikers at [email protected].

The march was organized by the Committee in Support of the Stella D'oro Strikers, which is a community-based strike support committee in the Bronx that came together to help bring pressure on the company to negotiate in good faith.

Edwin Chungo-Molina, a member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 3, explained why he helped to start the strike support committee.

"The workers have been on strike for close to five months," Chungo-Molina said. "The company has refused to sit down and negotiate with the workers. They have hired strikebreakers or scabs to destroy the union...

"Eventually, they won't only break the union, but they will also move their company somewhere else. This will affect 135 working families, and it would affect the whole community. Some workers there have been there for 40 years."

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